CLARENCE D. LEWIS #123525, C-1, D-1 Plaintiff-Appellant
LOUISIANA STATE UNIVERSITY MEDICAL CENTER SHREVEPORT, LOUISIANA, DR. AUGUSTINE UZOMA NJOKU, AND DR. CASEY MCVEA, RAYMOND LABORDE CORRECTIONAL CENTER AND UNIVERSITY HEALTH, SHREVEPORT, IMPLANT SPECIALIST, JOHN HENCOCK Defendant-Appellees
Appealed from the First Judicial District Court for the
Parish of Caddo, Louisiana Trial Court No. 603, 482 Honorable
Michael Pitman, Judge
CLARENCE D. LEWIS RAYMOND LABORDE CORRECTIONAL CENTER Pro Se
PETTIETTE, ARMAND, DUNKELMAN, WOODLEY, BYRD & CROMWELL,
LLP By: Joseph S. Woodley Lawrence W. Pettiette, Jr. Rendi B.
Wiggins Counsel for Appellees
MOORE, STEPHENS, and McCALLUM, JJ.
Lewis, an inmate acting in proper person, appeals a judgment
that sustained an exception of prescription and dismissed his
claims of medical malpractice and civil rights violations
against BRFHH, dba University Health Shreveport. We affirm.
was serving a 15-year sentence at Riverbend Detention Center,
in Lake Providence, La., when he suffered symptoms of a heart
attack. He was taken to University Health for, as he
recalled, "further testing." He admits giving
consent to Dr. Hencock to perform a coronary angiogram (dye
test), but insists that he staunchly refused to let anyone
implant any "stents or balloons * * * into his
arteries." However, the next day, he discovered that
Drs. Hencock, Morris and Hanner had done precisely that - put
stents in his arteries. He considered this a blatant
violations of his rights.
operation occurred on August 22, 2016, and he was aware of
the stents the very next day.
first filing in this record, however, is not dated until
September 14, 2017, and is headed, "Motion for Decretal
Order or, in the alternative, Motion to Invoke Supervisory
Jurisdiction." Lewis alleged that in April 2017, he had
mailed to the First JDC a § 1983 action against LSU
Medical Center, its medical director, directors of surgery
and of nursing, University Health, and Dr. Augustine Nijoku,
alleging violations of his civil rights (and demanding some
$22.65 million in damages); the clerk of court replied that
Lewis would have to send a $300 filing fee; Lewis filed a
motion for pauper status, which was denied; then, the clerk
advised that it would be a $600 filing fee - $300 for the
petition and $100 for each additional service. Lewis demanded
a "decretal order" to enforce the original
statutory filing fee of $300 and to "roll back" the
prescriptive period for his civil rights claim. He followed
this filing with a letter requesting a separate order
"rolling back the prescriptive period" and a
request for expedited consideration, attaching a new §
1983 complaint (adding Dr. Hencock and now demanding $24.3
initially responded, on October 26, 2017, with a dilatory
exception of prematurity urging that Lewis's claim was
actually for medical malpractice and he had never filed a
request for medical review panel ("MRP") as
required under the Medical Malpractice Act, La. R.S.
alerted by the reference to the MRP, Lewis wrote an MRP
request, dated November 11, 2017, which the Division of
Administration received on November 21. He also filed a
"judgment of default," on November 17, which the
district court summarily denied, and, later, a "dilatory
notice of non-action," asserting that the defendants
were not responding to his complaints.
then filed, in January 2018, an exception of prescription,
which is the issue on appeal. This alleged that the
healthcare was rendered on August 22, 2016, but Lewis's
MRP request was not dated until November 21, 2017, over a
year after the alleged malpractice and thus untimely under
La. R.S. 9:5628.
matter proceeded to a hearing over two days in March 2018. On
the first day, Lewis participated by phone conference call
from his current placement, in Raymond Laborde Correctional
Center, in Cottonport. The transcript shows some confusion on
his part, and he first insisted he was entitled to a default
judgment because nobody had timely responded to his petition.
He was also confused that BRFHH could be a qualified
healthcare provider, while the other defendants, subject to a
different statute, were not.After a patient explanation from
the district court, Lewis argued that he had tried to start
the process on May 3, 2017, and he had the "papers"
to prove it, but there was no way for him to offer these from
Cottonport. Indulgently, the court recessed the hearing for
two weeks and issued an order letting Lewis out of Laborde
for the occasion.
the hearing resumed with Lewis present, BRFHH introduced its
certificate of enrollment and a letter (dated December 5,
2017) advising Lewis that BRFHH is a qualified healthcare
provider. Lewis then offered three letters: (1) from PCF
saying that University Health and Dr. Hencock are not
qualified healthcare providers, (2) his own letter to the
Division of Administration, dated ...